RANGER AGAINST WAR: There is a Kansas... <

Saturday, March 24, 2007

There is a Kansas...


Our day will come,
and we'll have everything
--
"Our Day, Will Come," Frankie Valli


The sun’ll come out, tomorrow,

Bet your bottom dollar, that tomorrow
There'll be sun


Tomorrow tomorrow, I love you tomorrow,

You're only a day a-way
--"The Sun'll Come Out, Tomorrow," from Annie

Well, as Hemingway's Lady Brett Ashley wistfully remarked, it's pretty to think so. At least we know who Daddy Warbucks is.

Those hopeful but vapid sentiments came to mind after reading an editorial today by John Crawford, local boy made good. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller,
The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell, written in part while he was an infantry soldier in Iraq.

I was impressed with his self-effacing manner when I heard him speak at our local bookstore on the first leg of his book promotion tour. He has since become the state news coordinator for the
Tallahassee Democrat, but he has missed the boat as far as using his voice in effective protest.

His editorial piece today, "There is a Better Way to Protest," is merely cute, trite and utterly irrelevant.


More than 3,500 Americans have fallen in the past five years on foreign shores. Over 7,000 vets have spinal cord injuries, and it's safe to say that they will never rise to become healthy people again. His biggest plea is for "empathy," a quality he imputes even to his baby daughter. But how does Crawford or his baby acknowledge these stark facts?


He speaks of his friend's killing by a roadside IED. But his friend, Spc. Robert Wise, was not killed by an IED. Rather, the cause of Wise's death is an illegal war, and the responsibilities lies with a corrupt and incompetent U.S. National Command Authority which fostered the war.

The IED was merely an instrument. The cause was an elective, preemptive and unnecessary war.

Crawford may have felt the heat leave Wise's body, but he hasn't truly digested the significance. All of us with combat experience should oppose the use of violence in war, unless every other option has been exhausted. This surely was not the case in the constructed rush to war with Iraq.

One can best show the empathy that Crawford calls for fallen warriors by opposing this war through any means possible.

I am a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), and I still oppose the policy that awards plaques to dead soldiers, as we did in the case of Spc. Wise.
My condolences and best wishes go out to Spc. 4 Wise's family; I mourn their incredible loss. Surely America lost a fine man when Wise died. But this posthumous award legitimizes and institutionalizes the war and lends support to the administration's illegal policies.

Fallen soldiers are best remembered if their example of bravery allows the rest of us to have the courage to insure that no soldier receive the Purple Heart, unless the nation is facing an actual imminent threat.

Iraq was a manufactured emergency. And the fallen heroes are expediencies to the process, hailed by all comers for their cause du jour.

For instance, I remember the vacillation of Governor Bush, who took almost two days to decide if the flag could be flown at half-staff following Wise's death. Of course, this indecision is understandable in a family so in want of military experience in its recent generation.


The salient point is, we allowed the Florida National Guard and Army to send this unit to combat without proper training ("compressed") or equipment. W
hy does Florida allow this criminal misallocation of our precious treasure? These are our best, and we're wasting them to no avail.

Good men and women have died in vain
--a concept considered heretical in this must-believe war--and men like Crawford find this acceptable?
Wise is still dead, his comrades still sent unprepared into a war which is still an elective, illegal invasion, one that does not benefit America, writ large, in any way. (Though certain Americans, writ small, are privately benefiting.)

Crawford has a national voice. He could do more, and I hope he does.

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